The Words of the Gomez Family
Buenos Aires, Argentina -- "Life Is the Art of Encounter" is the motto under which UPF-Argentina celebrated the UN International Friendship Day on July 30 with an intercultural and artistic event at the Peace Embassy in Buenos Aires. The event included presenting the awards of the Drawing and Painting Contest, which UPF organized together with Affinnerity.
The meeting began with interfaith prayers, since friendship is considered a spiritual value that refers to a common origin and destiny of universal brotherhood, to one global family with the same God as a unique father. Invocations or words of reflection were offered by Faiza Yahia from the El Ahmad Mosque; Father Ioannis from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Buenos Aires; Pastor Eduardo Corales from the American Clergy Leadership Conference of Argentina; Rabbi Arieh Sztokman, Director of the "School of Love" Emunah; and Pastors Juan Climenti and Susana Riverol, Directors of the Jesus Ministry for the Nations.
Then the awards of the Drawing and Painting Contest "Life Is the Art of Encounter" were introduced. This contest gained the attention of the Secretary of Religious Affairs of the Nation (Resolution 99/2012) and received numerous expressions of institutional support, among them, the General Directorate for Religious Affairs of the Government of Buenos Aires, the Directorate of Religious Affairs of the Municipality of José C. Paz, the Argentinean -- Judeo Christian Fellowship, the Hispanic Cultural and Literary Institute of California, and the Argentinean Society of Artists.
First, the authors of the 21 works selected were named and applauded, and then the 12 winners. The works were displayed for public appreciation, and people were invited to vote for paintings in the categories of children (ages 5 to 17) and adults (18 and older) to be incorporated into a mural.
For the winners, there were framed diplomas awarded by the jury, which consisted of three women artists, Ana Cabrera Grohs, Marta Diez, and Zulma García Cuerva, together with Rabbi Aryeh Sztokman, one of the organizers of the competition. There were also medals for the first-prize winners in each category given by Alicia Maciel, representing the Peace Council of UPF-Argentina. Winners in the adult category were given a copy of A Peace-loving Global Citizen (autobiography of UPF Founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon) by Carlos Varga, Director of the Unification Movement in Argentina. Books were also presented courtesy of San Pablo Publishers.
The awards ceremony was a most emotional moment, especially for the winners and their families, who overflowed with joy and expressed their appreciation for the recognition. "United for the faith," by Adelina Carrión (painting: adult category); "Meeting of the heart," by Mabel Fontau (drawing: adult category), "Peace in our hearts," by Sol Corsi (painting: children's category) and "Family: Key to peace" by Rosalinda Vallejos (drawing: children's category) were awarded first prizes in their respective categories.
Nobody wanted to miss the party. The only one who could not come was Renzo Barros, from La Carrera in Catamarca Province, who received an Honorable Mention in the children's drawing category for "Friendship without borders," which was submitted by Adolfo Quiroga, Managing Director of the House of Catamarca in Buenos Aires. Pía Pereira Vázquez was the one who came from farthest away, traveling with her family from Maldonado, Uruguay. She not only won the second prize for "A network of Encounters" (painting: children's category), but also public approval, since her work was chosen to be incorporated in a mural. Meanwhile, "United for the faith," by Adelina Carrión, was the painting chosen from the adult category.
Institutional supporters were mentioned in the event, including educational, cultural, social, and media organizations. A message of support from the UN Information Center in Buenos Aires was read by Donato Perrone, a member of the UPF-Argentina Peace Council.
The closing consisted of a varied musical repertoire, ranging from Zorba the Greek, which was performed by the Greek Ballet Eleftheria, to the interpretation of Cantaré, Cantarás, which was popularized in 1985 by Latin singers gathered under the "Brothers Project" name, a Hispanic version of "We Are the World." The song was sung by the group Los Manrique, Carlos Picazo, and the well-known voices of Facundo Vallejos and Reynaldo Llanos, accompanied by the guitarist Roberto Ferreyra.
It was mentioned that the UN established the annual International Friendship Day (Resolution A/65/L.72) because it understands that "friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and people can inspire peace initiatives and also presents an opportunity to build bridges between communities, honoring cultural diversity."
Sites will be chosen for public murals to keep promoting friendship, a fundamental value for building bridges of coexistence and peace.